I spent the day digging through current knowledge about the coronavirus and public policy on how the world is responding. There's good news, bad news, and worse news.
Worse news: Mutations ahead.
"Around the world, hope for a return to normalcy is pinned on a vaccine, the “ultimate weapon,” as it’s been called by officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But it’s still unclear how successful a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can be. A lot will depend on how the virus mutates." And mutate it will, in one of two ways. The first way gives us hope for an effective vaccine. With the second way, all bets are off. "If the virus mutates in a way that prevents antibodies from binding, it could make a lasting, universal vaccine difficult to create."
Bad news: We were unprepared for this and we're still unprepared.
Any objective analysis of the US response to the pandemic shows major failure at every level of the federal government. No infrastructure meant a severely delayed response, with more than seven weeks wasted at a critical time. There should have been a mad rush to impose a comprehensive testing regime, but we're still missing that capability. More problematic, we have a president who almost no one in the world trusts to speak with integrity or act effectively. Much of the damage being done by the Trump Pandemic is self-imposed.
Good news, if we're smart.
For all its tragedies, many people are finding hope in the midst of this pandemic. We're learning we can greatly reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing much too much productivity. Air pollution has dropped dramatically. We're also learning that the people who keep our society and our economy running are people we need to value and pay more. That's a lesson we should learn, but we probably won't. Too many people make too much money exploiting those folks.
So far, North Carolina seems to have handled itself admirably in the Trump Pandemic, thanks to the steady leadership of Governor Cooper. He's getting complaints from the sidelines, from guys like Dan Forest, but most people see through the posturing. As governors step up to fill the void left by Trump's incompetence, this virus is separating real leaders from loudmouths.